DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of
February 19, 2001.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
February 19, 2001
The fifth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year
2000-2001 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, February
19, 2001, at 2:15
Present: Mark I. Alpert, Anthony P. Ambler, Katherine
M. Arens, Effraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong, Matthew J. Bailey,
Joyce L. Banks, Brigitte L. Bauer, Gerard H. Béhague, David
G. Bogard, Dean A. Bredeson, Cindy L. Carlson, Michael J. Churgin,
L. Cleary, Michael B. Clement, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson,
Dorie J. Gilbert, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Barbara J. Harlow,
James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Sharon D. Horner, Judith A. Jellison,
Arlen W. Johnson, Manuel J. Justiz, Elizabeth L. Keating, Ward W. Keeler,
Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Stefan M. Kostka, David A. Laude,
E. Luthy, Katheryn Coveley Maguire, David R. Maidment, Glenn Y. Masada,
Gregory R. Murphy, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba
Ortiz, Thomas G. Palaima, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E. Pfeifer, William
C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Daron K. Roberts,
Victoria Rodriguez, David J. Saltman, Juan M. Sanchez, Robert N. Schmidt,
Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Mark R. V. Southern, Michael P. Starbird, Laura
T. Starks, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Paul Randall (Randy) Thompson, Janice
S. Todd, John W. Walthall, James R. Yates, Katy B. Zarolia.
Absent: Christopher O. Adejumo, Victor L. Arnold, Joel
W. Barlow, Phillip J. Barrish, Harold W. Billings, Douglas G. Biow,
Lynn E. Blais, Daniel A. Bonevac, Richard A. Cherwitz, Dana L. Cloud
(excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis (excused),
Desley A. Deacon, John D. Dollard (excused), Edwin Dorn, Minette E.
Drumwright (excused), Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Shelley F. Fishkin,
G. Charles Franklin, Robert Freeman, Nell H. Gottlieb, Von Matthew (Matt)
Hammond, Thomas M. Hatfield, Sharon H. Justice (excused), Kerry A. Kinney,
Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Margaret
N. Maxey, Robert G. May (excused), Francis L. Miksa, Elmira Popova,
Johnnie D. Ray, Linda E. Reichl, Andrew M. Riggsby, Dolores Sands, Roberta
I. Shaffer, Joel F. Sherzer (excused), Lawrence W. Speck, Ben G. Streetman,
Teresa A. Sullivan, Daniel A. Updegrove, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker,
Ellen A. Wartella, Barbara W. White (excused).
|REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
There were no questions about the written report
|APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The secretary reported that the names of Lon Heuer
and Dyan Hudson had been misspelled in the original version of
the minutes (D 1131), but had been corrected. The minutes of the
Faculty Council meeting of January 22, 2001 (D
1129-1131), were then approved by voice vote.
|COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
||Comments by the President.
President Faulkner was unable to attend the
||Questions to the President.
Barbara Harlow (English) informed members of a new anti-abortion
exhibit in front of Gregory Gymnasium, sponsored by the
student group Justice for All. Harlow said she found the
exhibit offensive, and raised the issue in a question to
the provost, in the absence of President Faulkner. The provost
said he was aware that the exhibit was offensive to many
people, and asked Patricia Ohlendorf (vice president for
institutional relations and legal affairs) to comment on
the legal issues involved. Ohlendorf said the exhibit was
too large for the free speech area on the West Mall, and,
since the University was in the process of creating a free
speech area near Gregory Gym, it had been decided to allow
the group to display the exhibit there. She said the administration
was investigating the question of whether a non-student
group was cosponsoring the exhibit.
Harlow asked if it was appropriate to introduce a motion
on the subject, and it was agreed that the Council would
take up consideration of such a motion at the end of New
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair elect Bruce Palka (mathematics) chaired the
meeting in the absence of Chair Patrick Davis (pharmacy).
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Palka announced that the annual meeting of the Faculty
Council with members of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate would
be held at the University of Texas Club on March 26. He said a
of Governor Perry's office would speak on the governor's higher
education initiatives, and there would be sessions on accountability
and issues in graduate education.
|SPECIAL ORDERS None.
|UNFINISHED BUSINESS None.
|REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND
SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES None.
||Proposal to Create a Two-Day Fall Break (D
On behalf of the University's Calendar Committee, Stefan
Kostka (music), chair of the committee, introduced a proposal
to begin fall semester classes two days earlier than has
been the case, beginning on a Monday instead of a Wednesday.
This would allow for a two-day fall break, which, by the
proposal, would occur on the second Monday and the following
Tuesday in October. See D 1122 for a full statement of the
Kostka said the request for a fall break had come from
students on the committee. He said some would prefer a full-week
break at Thanksgiving, but a majority on the committee felt
a break nearer the beginning of the semester would be better.
Possibilities considered included holding classes on Labor
Day, but this was rejected because of the problems it would
create, especially for staff.
Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) said the proposal
would cause problems for lab courses in his department.
Hackert and Executive Vice Provost Monti (also chemistry
and biochemistry) said the change would effectively reduce
the lab time by a full week, partly because the beginning
of the first week has been used to train lab assistants
and partly because of the confusion generated by adds and
drops. Kostka said the committee was unaware of these difficulties.
Mark Alpert (marketing administration) inquired about the
reasons for a new fall break. Thomas Palaima (classics)
suggested that perhaps the problems for lab courses could
be overcome by a creative change in scheduling for lab projects.
Then, in answer to Alpert's question, Palaima said he favored
the proposal, believing it was important that students have
time to read, think, and work on reports. Daron Roberts
(student government) also spoke in favor of the proposal.
Robert Schmidt (theatre and dance) asked if starting the
fall semester two days earlier would be in conflict with
the definition of the nine-month contract. Kostka thought
it would not, since the spring semester ends before the
end of May.
David Maidment (civil engineering) and Mark Alpert thought
it would be good to poll faculty on the question before
the March meeting. Provost Ekland-Olson said his office
could help do that by working through deans and department
chairs. Michael Churgin (law) said he had simply invited
input from his colleagues in the School of Law with an email
message. Paul (Randy) Thompson (student representative)
said that the student government had established a place
on its web site for students to register their opinions.
The secretary pointed out that, because the proposal was
classified as major legislation, anything approved by the
Council would be circulated to the General Faculty on a
The secretary asked how the proposed break would relate
to OU weekend, and Carol Holmgreen (associate registrar)
said it would come directly after that for the next several
years but could also be a week later. The secretary wasn't
sure either arrangement was a good thing. Thompson made
a case for ignoring OU weekend in considering about the
Proposal to Increase Student Involvement in the Hiring
Process of Tenure-Track Faculty (D
Katy Zarolia (student), on behalf of the Cabinet of College
Councils, introduced the proposal for student involvement
in the hiring of new faculty through one or more of the
following options, to be decided by each school, college,
or department: (1) A candidate would give a lecture open
to all students; information about the candidate would be
made available, and student opinion would be solicited.
(2) A candidate would meet informally with students, information
candidate would be made available, and student opinion
would be solicited. (3) One undergraduate or graduate student
(or both) would be included as a voting member on each tenure-track
faculty selection committee. As with the fall break proposal,
this was classified as major legislation.
Marvin Hackert favored some form of student involvement
in hiring, but questioned the wording of part (3) of the
proposal. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (English) favored the
spirit of the proposal, but suggested it might be good
have an option that did not go as far as option (3).
Martha Hilley (music) said that it was difficult to get
participation for lunches and informal meetings with
candidates. Gerard Béhague (music) expressed concern
about how students would be chosen, and said that assessing
required knowledge and experience. Cynthia Shelmerdine
(classics) said she had seen student involvement work well,
how the students would be chosen. Joyce Banks (graduate
student assembly) pointed out that some units already involve
graduate students, and asked if this process might lead
to those being replaced by undergraduates. Zarolia said
that if the candidates were to teach undergraduates, then
undergraduates should be represented in the process. Steve
Monti pointed out that eleven of the schools and colleges
had both graduates and undergraduates, so this could lead
to at least two students on each committee.
Barbara Harlow was also concerned about how students would
be chosen, since in her department students are already
involved and they are elected, not chosen through procedures
that had been suggested in the proposal's details. Mike
Starbird (mathematics) asked if the proposers had rejected
a suggestion by the Council's Executive Committee that student
committee members could be non-voting members; the answer
was that the suggestion had been rejected. John Walthall
(student, Cabinet of College Councils) pointed out that
student membership on hiring committees was optional. The
secretary said he thought it was very important that students
be given an opportunity to comment on the quality of instruction,
and that the administration take those comments seriously;
however, he was strongly opposed to student membership on
hiring committees, given the background required to make
good tenure decisions in a major research university such
as UT Austin. Palaima was also opposed to having student
members, being especially concerned about the potential
for coercion of students on such committees.
Robert Schmidt said his department often sought student
input, but it was tailored to each case; he believed this
legislation would be too restrictive. Ward Keeler (anthropology)
said his department used student members on committees,
but it had never been clear who they were representing,
themselves or some larger constituency, and he did not see
that this legislation would clarify that. Janice Todd (kinesiology
and health education) pointed out that hiring decisions
are made by budget councils, not search committees.
||Emergency Resolution on Campus Exhibit
Following up on the issue she had raised
earlier in the meeting, Barbara Harlow moved that the Council
vote to endorse the following statement: "Be it resolved
that the Faculty Council of UT Austin finds offensive the
Justice for All display currently exhibited outside Gregory
Gymnasium and requests that it be removed immediately."
Following the rules on proposals not circulated
before a meeting, the Council first voted that Harlow's
motion could be introduced as emergency legislation. (After
a question from a member, it was determined that a quorum
was present at the time of that vote.) Mark Alpert said
he thought the exhibit was, visually, the most offensive
thing he had seen on the campus, but he was unsure of the
proper way to deal with his and Harlow's concerns. Was it
a question of what was said or how it was said, and how
did it involve the right to free speech?
Starbird said he had not seen the exhibit (as was true
for many others), so he was not sure how to respond. Palaima
said the free speech issue was paramount, and he faulted
the University's decision to hastily declare an area other
than the West Mall as a free speech area, especially an
area that was so prominent and difficult for some to avoid.
Robert Koons (philosophy) pointed out that the purpose
of the First Amendment was to protect offensive expression,
and that expression that was not offensive did not need
protection. He did not see that outside sponsorship should
be a big issue, since groups such as Young Democrats and
Young Republicans clearly had outside connections.
The secretary read a statement from Michael Churgin,
who had left to teach, in which Churgin wrote that "as
long as the exhibit is consistent with free speech area
rules, it would be a violation of the First Amendment
the University to regulate the exhibit based on its content."
Laura Starks (finance) said she found the exhibit offensive,
in part because of its size, and asked if there was no limit
on size. Laura Luthy (staff association representative)
said that she objected to not having a choice about whether
to see the exhibit, because of its size and unavoidable
Harlow said she had no intention of violating free speech
rights, and thought perhaps the exhibit could be taken down
until the status and definition of the new free speech area
was clarified. The provost said he took it as a concern
of the Council that the administration needed to clarify
the boundaries of the free speech area.
At this point in the discussion, the question of a quorum
was raised again, and a count showed there was not a quorum.
|ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS None.
|QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR None.
The meeting adjourned at 3:50
Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/)
on March 7, 2001. Copies are available on request from the Office of
the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.